TERM 4, 2016: Week 7-8

Our Learning

OJC Learning Design Model (1.0)

OJC Learning Design Model (1.0)

The last seven days have been full on with staff team (or Kainga) meetings to plan our inquiry projects for the start of term 1 and the broader Big Ideas for the rest of 2017; we have had workshops on unpacking our Learning Design Model, Collaborative Teaching in a MLE context, and a highly valuable review of the essence statements of the NZC strands with the Ormiston Senior College staff. All staff have been involved in the pitching and tuning process that has allowed for iteration after iteration of our planning to be created, pulled apart and re-constructed. Staff have successfully come to grips with the idea that planning as we once knew it will no longer suffice for the new paradigm of learning our foundation students will engage in. We have learned to be flexible, accommodating and we are all up for serious critique, especially when it is ‘hard on content yet soft on people’.

Mel has been anything but Bland.

Mel has been anything but Bland.

One very key aspect to our learning in 2017 will come from the Learning Design Model we have adopted and created - our so-called Jackson 5 or 5E’s is a metacognitive tool or framework to guide robust and deep inquiry (is not a predetermined process or linear path for student thinking). We have been up-skilling on a weekly basis with the key apps students will use on their iPads next year. Stuart Hale (Apple Educator and eLearning Consultant) has taken us through some excellent workshops on some very powerful apps - today we ePublished online interactive books using the Book Creator app.

Our People

What do these seven names represent?

What do these seven names represent?

We would like to pay a tribute to Mel Bland who has been with us for Term 4 and is going onto an Assistant Principal’s role at a local intermediate school. Mel’s affable character, humble leadership and amazing organisational skills has ensured that OJC has been able to meet up with all the enrolled students previous teachers to gather important data and learning stories. She has also dug deep into the linkages between our school vision, values and principles and the graduate profiles for our Year 7-10 learners. Thank you for your attention to detail and cognitive persistence.  Mel, we wish you all the best at your new place - they are getting one very special educational leader.

Our Environment

It’s so exciting to be this close to seeing a finished building of this size and magnitude. Our learners are going to be so impressed with this state of the art building (we are so very lucky to be getting this facility!. There are seven key learning commons that have been named for the navigational skills and techniques of early pacific seafarers and explorers and next year's learners will bring the navigational theme alive in their learning and production. Our relationship and dialogue with the Nga tai iwi has been fundamental to our understanding of the local area, history and significance of the land.

Next Steps

Tuesday: Restorative Practice Workshop (What is Restorative Practice?, “that human beings are happier, more productive and more likely to make positive changes in their behaviour when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them” (Wachtel, 2004). Next Thursday the Ministry of Education’s E.R.O will visit us for the third and final time of 2016 to ensure OJC is ready to open its doors. Friday 16th December is the last official day for NZ schools/school offices and our staff will be heading out for Christmas Lunch

TERM 4, 2016: Week 5

Our Learning

Learning in the last week has been transformational.

Excited much? Testing hydraulics with Baverstock students.

Excited much? Testing hydraulics with Baverstock students.

Week 5 has been a whirlwind with our staff visiting Rototuna Junior High School and the Hobsonville Point community of schools in West Auckland. Having the opportunity to see the theories we are discussing in action has been an invaluable way to make real world connections to our thought processes. We have been working hard to turn our we believes into principles and practises that will be the blueprint for how will we work when the rubber hits the road. We have continued our collaborative STEM teaching at Baverstock Oaks which has seen engaged learning from both students and staff.

We are mighty proud of the crane we built!

We are mighty proud of the crane we built!

Our People

This week we were joined once again by Chris Clay for the third instalment of ‘Thinking differently’, we were challenged to think about transformative learning.

Tinkering with cardboard wheels and a rear wheel drive motor.

Tinkering with cardboard wheels and a rear wheel drive motor.

Chris provoked us to think about making real connections with our learning and doing this through setting challenges, using a scarcity of resources, with a timeframe and a demonstration. He took us through another amazing demonstration of innovation with scarce resources and tight parameters. He challenged us to make a vehicle that was powered by a propeller that would be able to move quickly across the ground. Chris wanted us to innovate on the original idea and find novel ways to achieve the desired outcome.  

Our Environment

We have seen the scaffolding come down from the outside of our Kura and it is starting to resemble the space that we are going to be working in. The gymnasium now has a floor and there are basketball hoops installed. We are excited by all the changes we can see happening in front of us and it is beginning to feel like opening day is just around the corner.

Next Steps

We’ve hit the halfway point of the final term before opening day in 2017.

We continue our school visits this week with Kelly organising visits to Murray's Bay Intermediate and her previous school Orewa College.  

Parent information night on Wednesday the 16th of November is fast approaching and we are busy preparing to meet our community and the learners that will be taking ownership of this space next year.

 

TERM 4, 2016: WEEK 4 ROUNDUP

OUR LEARNING

Week 4 has been all systems go as we dive into the details of our programmes and how we will approach learning at OJC.  The team completed an in depth investigation of the New Zealand Council for Education Research’s book “Key Competencies for the Future” and also worked on unpacking what the OECD Research project called “The Nature of Learning” might mean in relation to teaching and learning at OJC.  

Mel, Viv, and Kelly examine educational practices that embody integrity.

Jan, John and Bonnie plan out strategies for excellence in OJC learning.

Other work that we’ve prioritised has been around solidifying working partnerships with a variety of NGO’s, Council committees, Iwi, businesses, and other groups.  These organisations will work with OJC teachers and learners to provide authentic and real world work and problem solving experiences in the field, rather than completing “practice learning” within our walls.  Just this week we’ve met with Curious Minds NZ, The Participatory Science Project, The Young Enterprise Scheme, Banqer, The National Library of NZ, Auckland City Library, and Life HackHQ, among others, to begin work co-designing 2017 OJC curriculum opportunities.  These range from working on youth health and wellbeing initiatives, connecting the future Ormiston Community Centre and Library (to be built in 2018) with our school, local waterways and significant site restoration and conservation work, and financial literacy learning and business education.  It’s an exciting time to be a student, and all of us are really counting down the days until we get to roll up our sleeves and begin work on all these wonderful opportunities with our foundation learners.

Viv has also continued her work connecting the Ormiston Primary School’s work on their Math Hub and learning progressions with our approach to numeracy and learning in mathematics.  We’ve also enlisted the lovely Lisa Banfield, formerly DP at both Willow Bank Primary and Sommerville Intermediate School to support with this important mapping so that the OJC numeracy curriculum has a unified and rigorous approach that meets the needs of each learner while supporting them to accelerate their learning and take on new challenges in maths.

Loving Maths at OrmPS and Linking Learning with OJC

OUR PEOPLE

Once again Chris Clay of ‘Thinking Differently’, joined us for another provoking session.  He emphasised the significance of creating knowledge networks, as an organisational form that can stimulate innovation and help transfer knowledge between learners. In pairs, we were given a ‘Hydraulics Challenge’ where we created a piston using two syringes and needed to lift $1 worth of ten cent coins.  We tinkered, talked, questioned, collaborated and problem-solved. A successful reminder of the power of collective thinking.

Tracey and Sylvie working hard

Cilla and Rewi think BIG

Bonnie, John and Jan have this sussed

As a team, we are gathering a better knowledge of our key stakeholders in our community and have been lucky enough to meet some of our learners who will be joining us in 2017 from Baverstock Oaks School and Ormiston Primary School.

Our Baverstock Oaks School visit included building rockets with Year 6 learners who worked in teams to discover the best combination of which rocket fuel (the liquid) and rocket powder (citric acid) were required to make their rocket (film canister) blast off!  We saw the learners tinker, talk, question, collaborate and problem-solve. The students' minds were blown by how much fun they could have learning.  As a staff, we were able to practice teaching collaboratively and got our ‘fix’ of working with some awesome kids.

Jan and Kelly give the brief and an engineering lesson in rocket design.

Rewi's team of astro-physicists prepare for lift-off!

Fred and his group of rocket scientists.

Ormiston Primary School welcomed us into their environment on Friday where we met some more of our future OJC learners.  We were so impressed by the way the students confidently interacted with their Habitat environment and people, as the room was buzzing with busy learners. 

OUR ENVIRONMENT

As part of the preparation for our learning programme in 2017, we have been gathering ideas to put into our kete from other school environments and have been welcoming the support from our colleagues in education.  Thanks to Fred, Alfriston College kindly hosted us and shared their valuable lessons learnt over 14 years of innovative teaching and learning practices.  We saw a Whanau-based approach at the centre of their learning in which relationships and student needs were a priority.  

We were also toured around Manurewa Intermediate by Mel and two student leaders from the school.  It was clear that the culturally relevant environment and physical presence of their school-wide initiatives reinforced their values for the learners and the community.  The Marae and Fale were wonderful reminders of the importance of creating a sense of belonging for our learners. There were great take-aways from both these schools.  When we share and learn from each other, all of our learners benefit.

Touring around Manurewa Intermediate

NEXT STEPS

As we continue to work our way through enrolment interviews with all our OJC whanau, the team is also looking ahead to the family information hui on the 16th of November.  This evening will provide all OJC learners and their families with the necessary details for how to prepare for the beginning of the 2017 school year.  It is a chance for our foundation community to get together to find out about both the little things (like stationery lists, cafe, and uniforms), and hear about the bigger picture (like a Day in the Life of an OJC Learner and how OJC school systems will work.)

We look forward to seeing you all there, and introducing you to our team!

 

TERM 4, 2016: WEEK 3

OUR LEARNING

Following on from the EOTC last week, and returning onsite refreshed, recharged, and relearned, we continued to define and solidify our beliefs and values. Luke prompted further deep thinking to outline the specifics in order to co-construct the collective ‘we believe’. Through group discussion and sharing, we began to put principles into practice with each core values: Relationship, Inspiration, Innovation, Integrity, and Excellence. Using Atkin’s model of ‘Developing practices congruent with values and beliefs’, we collaboratively identified the ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘what’ that we will be implementing to realise the school vision - ‘To guarantee every learner engages in innovative, personalised world class learning.’
The other learning document for the week was Key Competencies for the Future (Hipkins, Bolstad, Boyd, and McDowall). John and Viv facilitated the discussion around how we incorporate and use the key competencies in our school. It was a stepping stone to re-think and unpack what key competencies are and their purpose within the New Zealand Curriculum.
As we delved into the ‘wicked problems’ faced in education in the 21st century, Kat introduced the idea of a ‘cultural iceberg’ and reminded us of the importance of looking under the surface. By creating our own cultural icebergs using concepts or practices from the reading and/or what we had experienced in our teaching, we were able to search deeper into meaning. This exercise generated a lot of purposeful discussions that gave us the agency to working with diversity and building trust.

OUR PEOPLE

This week, we welcomed Mel and Lisa into our dynamic, growing team. Staff continued to share their digital korowai and favourite video that gave us more insight into the paths that each of us had taken and what had influenced our practice.  

Chris Clay of ‘Thinking Differently’ engaged in an open dialogue with the entire staff about team building and collaboration. Focussing on the goal of knowledge creation, we were challenged to build ‘rockets’ through experimentation and teamwork. The workshop captured a gradual shift in metacognitive processing as we reflected in each check-point conferences. The fun-filled activities not only modelled some strategies in facilitating innovative learning, but also further strengthened the team and celebrated the diversity of ideas.

OUR ENVIRONMENT

It was time to get out and about! Kelly and Fred set us out on an adventure to find out more about our Ormiston/Flat Bush community - physically. Exploring the local areas was a treat while finding places of relevance to our students. Discovering the landmarks, cultural hotspots, eateries, and even roads that are still being built gave us a real sense of the ever growing community. 
Learning takes many different forms and we are so fortunate to have a lively local community. It was such a stimulating process that we couldn’t wait to meet and connect with our students.

WHAT’S NEXT

As the term progresses, we are excited about visiting other schools while consolidating the organisational structure of OJC. We all come with a range of attributes and have been assigned to work on a specific area in smaller groups. Bearing agility and fluidity in mind, we are also encouraged to venture out of our identified disciplines and contribute broadly.  

There will also be more fun sessions with Chris in the following weeks as we continue to learn from each other and establish an ‘OJC way’ – learning to think differently, helping people have fun, deep thinking, team building, and unleashing the learners within ourselves!

Term 4, 2016: Week 2

OUR LEARNING

View from our campsite at Sandspit, Rodney.

View from our campsite at Sandspit, Rodney.

We all have a dominant preference in our thinking.

We all have a dominant preference in our thinking.

This week, the team went on retreat to the beautiful Sandspit north of Auckland.  We had cabins in the local campground and had some wonderful down time together as well as being a new and vibrant backdrop for some unique learning.  Our principal learning document for the week came from Julia Atkin - ‘From Values and Beliefs about Learning to Principles and Practice’.  Unpacking this document proved an interesting experience.  As a group, Luke led us through an interactive ‘book club’ type experience where we would read a section and then complete a task or activity and have a discussion.  The main idea behind this work was to move us from ‘I believe’ - truths that we have as individuals about our own practice - to ‘we believe’ to establish our common ground as practitioners for next year when we open the doors to OJC.  This has set all of us up well for our upcoming experiences in collaborative teaching.  If we all have shared values and principles then ultimately we have a place to come back to in time of difficulty.  These shared understandings are vital as we move forward in our larger team format. 

Our People

Another one of our retreat activities included unpacking the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument.  Every staff member completed an extended online survey that then outlined our dominant ways of thinking, both in times of calm and when under stress.  While imperfect, what this test does is give us all a sense of not only how we work, but how others in the team operate.  It’s a starting point in understanding our own strengths and weaknesses and in building respect for the skills and attitudes that the others around us bring to the table.  Our own personal realisations in not only how we think, but in recognising that large scale worthwhile projects require the entire spectrum of skills and personalities to be balanced and successful.  If that’s the case then we are setting ourselves up well for collaborative teaching that provides our students with sound, balanced and well rounded learning.  

Navigating a walk-through sculpture.

Navigating a walk-through sculpture.

On the final night of the retreat we were delighted to be welcomed to the home of Michael Absalom and Mary Chamberlain - educational guru’s and two names surely familiar to us all.  Not only were we regaled with some fantastic advice but Michael and Mary were warm and gracious hosts to accommodate all 15 of us with such great humour.   

Our Environment

Jan and Fred enjoying a moment in their own way.

Jan and Fred enjoying a moment in their own way.

With the opportunity to spend much of this week outside of our ‘work space’ in Ormiston Senior School, we not only have the opportunity to witness a week of progress on our new building across the road, we also experienced our very own EOTC (that’s Education Outside the Classroom for the non-teachers among you).  It’s a timely and important reminder that learning happens any and everywhere and in fact, there is power and relevance in leaving the classroom.  Not only does it engage the mind and enable you to think outside of your constraints, it also offers a truly wonderful opportunity to engage in relationships in a meaningful way.  With whakawhanaungatanga central to our beliefs, building our own genuine relationships is vital.  How are we able to reasonably assert that relationships form the backbone of good learning if we don’t ourselves have opportunities to build those relationships among ourselves and model that practice moving forward for our young learners?

What’s Next

Week three is also filled with promise.  With our team now familiar with each other, and having had the opportunity to work together in different groups and with different dynamics, we are ready to not only explore more clearly our own values and principles but also to start a program of school visits to start articulating more clearly our own OJC vision.   

How could this environment impact on your thinking and learning? 

How could this environment impact on your thinking and learning? 

TERM 4, 2016: WEEK 1 ROUNDUP

OUR LEARNING

Focus, concentrate. And breathe.

Focus, concentrate. And breathe.

A video update on the build of OJC

With thirteen new staff members, our first week back has been all about getting to know each other and building relationships. We will all be working very closely with each other so it has been important to focus on developing empathy and understanding right from the start. A variety of activities encouraged the staff to deepen their understanding of what ‘relationships’, ‘integrity’, ‘excellence’, ‘innovation’ and ‘inspiration’ meant to them individually, as a collective and what this means for OJC.

Kat introduced (and in some cases re-introduced) Design Thinking to all the staff.  We had a great time working through the process with our final goal being to design something that met the needs of another staff member.  Stuart has been extending our knowledge when using devices, providing us with shortcuts, tips and new apps.  It has been great having someone with such a huge amount of knowledge readily available.  Jan has run activities for all staff in which we explored our creative sides.  Just as we would ask our students to get ‘hands on’, we all got involved, shared, reflected, and adapted.  Check out some creations within a strict criteria and limited materials.

Empathy (through e.g story telling) is a major component in the design thinking process. 

Empathy (through e.g story telling) is a major component in the design thinking process. 

The most exciting thing to have come from all the activities is the rich conversation.  Everyone has arrived with a range of experiences and the learning conversations have highlighted how powerful collaboration is.  Our journey is on the way moving from “I believe…” to “We believe…"

OUR PEOPLE

Week 1, Term 4 and our great team of educators are on board! Over the next few days profiles will start to go up on the website, so keep an eye out. We are very  happy to welcome to the team Tracey, Rewi, Bonnie, Asha, Cilla and Sylvie alongside Fred, Jan and Kelly who started with us last term. This term Stuart, Lisa and Mel will join us part time to develop our skills and add to the depth of the team. Watch for some very skilled and passionate educators as we start to ready the school for 2017.

Luke is still meeting with newly enrolled students and their families as our student body numbers start to climb. Luke, John, Kat and Viv are heavily involved with team building, school build purchases and meetings with specialist technicians as we start to make decisions about areas within the school around internal rooms and specialist areas.

OUR ENVIRONMENT

We were lucky enough to visit the site on a beautiful day and the natural light poured in. The new staff were overwhelmed with the size and space and it was exciting going from seeing architecture’s sketches on paper to seeing it in reality.  Things are well on the way and it is easy to start imagining what each space can be used for.  When you drive past you will notice that the colours are up on the outside of the building and both inside and outside spaces are definitely starting to come together.

When looking for meaningful ways to name the spaces within OJC, the local iwi, Ngai Tai, gave us an insight into the history of the area.  An overriding theme was navigation which aligns quite nicely with Flat Bush being a ‘new’ settlement where people have migrated to.  The fact that OJC can be classed as a transition school - students passing through - where students will be explorers and navigators in their learning, also made navigation the perfect theme.  It was really important to us that OJC, whilst being a new school, still had links to the local area, its past, its present and its future. With this in mind, Ngai Tai were generous enough to gift OJC the use of some of their tipuna to name different spaces around the school.

NEXT STEPS

The team is in action!! Induction, many collaborative and collective intelligence discussions, activities and relationship building are happening. We move to week 2 of our induction phase with a great team. We are all looking forward to a 3 day retreat next week where we aim to start unpacking and holding some serious conversations around our visions, values and beliefs, as we look to the curriculum and planning for 2017! Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs in which we will continue to develop our learning/growing and sharing of ideas and updates of the school build.

TERM 3, 2016: WEEK 9 ROUNDUP

OUR LEARNING

Over the past week we have been very tactical in ensuring we are well prepared for all the staff who are joining us on the first day of next term. With thirteen teachers getting together there will be plenty of excitement and plenty of rich conversations about learning. We have a variety of activities planned, several school visits and a three day retreat where we will focus on working as a team.

Building Progress: Looking from within the courtyard back towards the lunch area (ground floor) and library (first floor)

Building Progress: Looking from within the courtyard back towards the lunch area (ground floor) and library (first floor)

Part of the important learning over the last five weeks has been the enrolment interviews. These are a great source of information. Speaking directly with the students, listening to the things they find hard at school and the things they love to do, helps us put in place plans for ensuring we address the needs of our children. It has been a pleasure to meet so many wonderful students and their families. If you haven't had an enrolment interview this needs to happen, it's very important. The process is; pre-enrol on the website, we email you some documents to fill in, you book a time with us and you then bring these documents to the interview.

Part of building a new school is collaborating with our contributing schools. We have enrolled students from 25 different schools so it is difficult to work with all of them. The major contributor is Ormiston Primary, this week we have popped out to their camp, Rewi and John walked the long tramp with the Ormiston learners. We saw some really exciting challenges and were impressed with the guts that the Ormiston kids were showing. It is important that children face these challenges together, the support for one another helps build teamwork and empathy, dispositions we certainly want for our children. The last day of term was entertaining too with the "Ormiston's got talent" show. Well done to those brave enough to give it a go.

Ormiston's Got Talent! a fantastic way to end the term looking at learner diligence and capabilities.  

Ormiston's Got Talent! a fantastic way to end the term looking at learner diligence and capabilities.  

OUR PEOPLE

We have been meeting with a diverse group of people over the last week. Try this for a busy week: The National Library service, ed-adventurer Chris Clay, Matt Williams and his team from Kauri Flats school (opens in February), signwriters, health and safety experts, Zaelene Maxwell Butler from Ngai Tai and eleven enrolment interviews. It has been a week of moving forward at quite a fast pace.

We have negotiated some new staff who will join us for the set up phase of the school. We have four new teachers on board who each bring a skill set to add to our lineup. While all this goes on Viv, John and Kat are busy with their essays and assignments for their post grad study.

NEXT STEPS

Term 4 sees phase four. Turning the "I believe" (values) that teachers possess into "we believe" (school values). As a team of teachers we clearly have to align our work values, forming the non-negotiables. This is going to be very important. How and why we do things is crucial so these next few weeks will be about setting a high standard together.

Internal walls taking shape - this is the view into the music suite, library and auditorium control room.

Internal walls taking shape - this is the view into the music suite, library and auditorium control room.

 

 

TERM 3, 2016: WEEK 8 ROUNDUP

OUR LEARNING

As the time flies along until opening day next year, our team has been flying through meetings and researching key elements of our approach to learning.  This has meant visits to other schools who are doing great things, but also taking a transdisciplinary approach to finding the best ways of working and learning.  With this in mind, Fred and Kelly visited NUMA: National Urban Maori Authority to investigate the roots of Restorative Practices and contemporary approaches to Restorative Practices in schools. The Ministry of Education's restorative practice initiative, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) describes restorative practice as is "a social science that integrates developments from a variety of disciplines and fields — including education, psychology, social work, criminology, sociology, organisational development and leadership — in order to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behaviour, repair harm and restore relationships."

Having this approach to social and emotional learning at OJC means that we will endeavour to learn and develop a culture in which this philosophy and the strategies that support it are met to the highest standards.  To this end, working with experts such as NUMA, and others, will help to support our learning and deeper understanding of how to embed restorative practices in the culture of our school.

Fred and Kelly also took a trip to Hamilton to talk about Restorative Practice and Justice in Schools and looked at the Pilgrim model at Bankwood Primary school.  This school has taken a beautifully responsive and caring approach to social and emotional learning and the knowledge that Fred and Kelly have brought back this week are invaluable to setting the course for OJC culture right from the get go.

Viv, Kat, Kelly and Fred also attended a day of professional learning hosted by The Learning Network on Monday.  Over the course of the year, a variety of neuroscience research and developmental psychology considerations have been explored which have led us to spend time researching how incorporating Mindfulness as a learning approach can benefit our young people and improve their ability to learn.

Kelly and Graham Watts

Learning alongside colleagues from Alfriston College

Guest speaker Graham Wattts shared with us different approaches to Mindful schools, stress management for young people, positive psychology, neuroscience, mindful practices and strategies for learning, and excellent approaches to the science of happiness.  Shawn Achor brilliantly sums up some of his research in this field in the following Tedx Talk.

The learning from our community and consultation process also highlighted our parents, board and community's awareness of ensuring that we nurture and foster learning around personal and collective wellbeing, kindness, empathy, and how to support kids to feel safe and happy.  To see more of what our community feels is important, check out the padlets on our website.

OUR PEOPLE

Viv, Kat and Cilla also took some time to visit Summerland Primary School to talk specifically about approaches to supporting rigorous reading and literacy acquisition and adapting this for OJC learners.  We also enjoyed a second visit to Amanda Signal's class and her amazing approaches and success in developing self-managing learners using Reggio Emilia provocation and empowering student management.  Amanda's year 5/6 class develops their own timetable each day and week which always includes working on their personalised literacy and numeracy skill goals, advancing their class learning projects, and completing massive personal learning projects.  At the moment, the class has been learning advanced financial literacy skills using the Banqer program.  The learners' understanding of money, interest, investment, tax, property, capital gains, income and debt management is truly astounding, and it was equally impressive to see them direct their own personal learning at such depth.

Amanda's lovely class showing off how they organise themselves and their learning each day.

Kat and Cilla getting the overview of Amanda's approach alongside Summerland DP Tash Lord.

Our eBoT came for a visit early in the week to help us refine and develop our vision for our leaners.  We are particularly lucky in that our establishment board is made up of people who are experienced and knowledgable in their respective fields as well as education, and the richness that comes from talking and working alongside them certainly adds to the quality of what OJC is striving to achieve.  Our board really highlighted the importance of learner wellbeing and having a well rounded approach to learning at a Junior College.  It was great to dig deeper into how this impacts on learning and life long outcomes, and it was an enjoyable catch-up and work session all around.

Enrolment interviews with Luke have continued on most days keeping him very busy!  Luke's approach to meeting with learners and whanau individually will also help us all to ensure that the OJC Learning Journey is personalised right from the first conversation.

Kat visited with OrmPS to gather specific info about some of our future learners - this process will be repeated regularly with our learners from other schools as well as in an ongoing way to help co-design learning experiences, supports, needs, wishes, etc.  It was so great to see the kids so engaged in thinking about the specifics of what learning might look like for them at OJC.  While we didn't quite finish the survey this time around, the learners are able to continue to add to their surveys anytime they want at any stage this year.  This information will help us to ensure we know our learners backwards and forwards.  It will be used to support crafting programs and also to help pair up learners with their Learning Coach for the best possible fit to support their learning during their 4 years at OJC.

Some of the questions from our Future Students Info Form

OUR ENVIRONMENT - THE THIRD TEACHER

The courtyard is beginning to take shape!

The first completed external wall gives a feel for what OJC will look like when she is done!

The team also traveled to both Albany Junior and Senior Colleges in order to check out their approaches to learning. Of particular interest was Albany Senior's work around Impact Projects and their collective approach to staff professional learning.  Albany Senior College's staff are committed to staying informed and aware of the latest educational research and their detailed use of shared reading and strategies is really stunning and an aspirational approach for us and our staff.  Albany was also one of the early Innovative Learning Environments in Auckland, and it is amazing to see how they have approached their curriculum of impact projects and Senior College level learning.

Albany staff sharing wall of readings and thinking.

NEXT STEPS

Our next Community Info Night will be held on November the 16th at Ormiston Senior College.  We will be sharing with you all the need to knows about starting school at OJC in 2017 and will look forward to seeing our future school community all together for the first time

Let us know you're coming by visiting our Facebook Event Page!

TERM 3, 2016: WEEK 7 ROUNDUP

Linda Shanks (Rolleston High) unpacking Advisory Curriculum 

Linda Shanks (Rolleston High) unpacking Advisory Curriculum 

OUR LEARNING

Collective Intelligence building across four schools.

Collective Intelligence building across four schools.

Monday this week we had the pleasure of flying south - not a phrase you hear very often in the elongated chill of winter defying spring, but Christchurch actually felt warmer than Auckland. Almost half of the new schools being built currently in NZ are based in Christchurch, so it made sense that the Professional Learning conference we facilitated in partnership with the Learning Network was based down there. We were wonderfully hosted by the team at Rolleston College, currently based at West Rolleston Primary whilst like us their facilities are being built. Other new schools such as Haeta school and the older sibling of our new schools family Rototuna Junior College (opened beginning of this year) came through to share perspectives on a range of topics such as advisory, curriculum design, collaborative teaching practices and creating culture. The natural formation of learning support communities is crucial as we share our experiences to reflect and inform our practices. 

Nathan Wallis: Understanding the adolescent brain.

Nathan Wallis: Understanding the adolescent brain.

The keynote speaker for our conference was Nathan Wallis unpacking the science of the teenage brain and Neuroscience informing Maori pedagogy. He was amazing, super engaging and very informative. He had a great way of framing the science with context whilst remaining responsive and approachable. As a parent firstly it really helped to provide perspective for brain development of our teenagers and what must be addressed in order to even earn the right to engage in learning.

Neuroplasicity builds Cognitive Flexibility.

Neuroplasicity builds Cognitive Flexibility.

If you ever have the chance to hear Nathan speak I would highly recommend you take hold of the opportunity as it will change the lens with which you look to interact and understand teens. The two biggest take away ideas I would share are that teenagers function through their emotions 90% of the time so rather than trying to engage them with their thinking it is normally easier for them to describe how they are feeling which we can use as a starting point of communicating. The second key take away is that in order to engage teenagers brains for learning we have to address their natural survival needs including the emotional needs in order for their brain to recognise they are safe and activate their brain for learning. All this in reflection sounds like common sense but it is the order and detail with which we do it that improves the effectiveness of these practices.

Sth Auckland Middle School: thematically engaging learners.

Sth Auckland Middle School: thematically engaging learners.

In the spirit of collegiality we were warmly welcomed in to South Auckland Middle School on Thursday morning by Villa trust director Alwyn Poole. They are offering a very exciting and well structured curriculum which thematically engages learners in a range of topics interweaving Learning Areas and assessments. The passion of the staff and their use of environment and timetabling to build learning opportunities was encouraging to see. Key takeaways from the experience were the celebration of learner success and design thinking displayed through the environment and student clarity of expectation with assessment. We look forward to further learning opportunities growing from the joint passion of serving our dynamic communities.

Dilworth Rural Campus: Authentic real wild-world experiences.

Dilworth Rural Campus: Authentic real wild-world experiences.

Continuing the theme of collaboration and our navigation south we had the pleasure of venturing out to the Dilworth rural school campus which houses year 9 male learners. It was truly an eye opener at what is possible with different models of learning environments. Dilworth have gifted us one of their Taonga to our staff, Asha Tupou-Vea, who has been instrumental in setting up this rural campus from its establishment. Having our new OJC staff member guiding us around campus and providing context of the learning was extremely insightful.

Dilworth: Relationships at the hearth of learning.

Dilworth: Relationships at the hearth of learning.

John Rice and his team were very generous with their time and hospitality providing time to discuss their pastoral care systems, mentoring initiatives, project based authentic learning around community service and restorative practice vs restorative justice. Another key feature of our trip was the strong outdoors programme which the school provides two full days of outdoor learning opportunities for every 12 days of learning. This was very informative as they suggested it was about immersing learners in outdoor exploration. On a side note they also commented on the impact the dietary changes they made to the food provided for learners impacted their learning; they had a low carb low sugar menu available and they have seen a clear turnaround in energy and engagement in the students' learning.

OUR PEOPLE

Engagement between the three schools.

Engagement between the three schools.

Progress is not progress until it is reviewed. With this in mind we had the opportunity to celebrate and learn from external eyes and ears with ERO visiting us Wednesday morning and meeting with the Board of Trustees in the afternoon. We received positive feedback regarding our staffing development and the up-to-date research informing our practice. They also commented on the authenticity of our community engagement including the depth of interaction going into our enrolment process.

21st century: The human and technological touch?

21st century: The human and technological touch?

Areas of learning for us to develop were to look at transdisciplinary opportunities for developing our leadership from external industries outside of just education to provide a variety of mentoring and perspectives on leadership development. We were also encouraged to begin to think about preparing how to operate the high number of visitors we are likely to have due to our progressive environmental structure and dynamic modern learning initiatives. Lastly we were encouraged to explore technological support for administration which would assist to streamline our functionality and allow for greater Learning Coach to Learner time.

Educational adventures outside of the classroom.

Educational adventures outside of the classroom.

Leader of Learning Kat Liu-asomua has been working to develop partnerships across the community and local business spectrum to create innovative learning opportunities for our learners discovering new resources and networks we are calling Ed-ventures. Education ventures which embrace synergy between real world industry and the potential of community social action. Watch this space as we are looking to provide learning opportunities which extend beyond the classroom not just in a physical sense but in the experiences, concepts and solutions which will emerge from this unique utilisation of industry and community experts. Kat has been working hard to solidify these multiple partnerships and opportunities which we will be unveiling closer to the school start date. 

Carol brings new knowledge to our educational community.

Carol brings new knowledge to our educational community.

Carol Barrett our Executive officer has been on board three weeks and has already made an impact on administration process and infrastructure. Of most importance is that she has updated the enrolment packs online so if you have not yet downloaded your pre-enrolment documents be sure to get started. Our administration team will be growing and we are looking forward to announcing our new team member by the end of term four.  

OUR ENVIRONMENT - THE THIRD TEACHER

Powerful learning with Zaelene Maxwell-Butler

Powerful learning with Zaelene Maxwell-Butler

Establishing community relationships has been priority as Education is developed by people for the people, with this in mind we have been fortunate to receive support from our local Iwi representative Zaelene Maxwell-Butler from Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki. It was important for us to acknowledge Tangata Whenua as our treaty partners and as curators and guardians of our local community. Guided by Zaelene we were able to name the various common areas which relate to navigational tools which reflects the journey of migration and new possibilities. We will be unveiling the official titles later in the year, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our gratitude to local Iwi for their support and commitment to tautoko - the growth of knowledge and values for future generations.

It would not be a true OJC blog update with out a progress report on our facilities. The latest addition to the visual landscape is the courtyard taking shape. The sun soaked courtyard which spring is finally unveiling has seen the shaded area poles being placed up. The high point for the skyline is the base being laid for the linking bridge which connects the school. The detail of the cabling and piping is amazing, to see the organs of our school body really does grow an appreciation at the depth of knowledge and expertise going in behind the scenes to form our facilities. The environment and skill set of the workers on the site reflect opportunities for learning that the environment will offer our learners and is truly exciting.

NEXT STEPS

This coming week we meet to unpack our vision statement further with our Board of trustees. Kelly, Viv and Fred continue to prepare for next terms induction of new staff.  We will be looking in more detail at restorative practice models and gain insight of community project learning based at Albany Senior and Junior college.